BURTON Albion’s mixture of youth and experience proved too strong for non-leaguers Coleshill Town as they eased to a 4-2 victory in the first round of the Birmingham Senior Cup at Pack Meadow on Monday evening.
Competition rules forced the Brewers to field a stronger side than last season, when they relied almost exclusively on youth team players.
As a result, Albion’s line-up included the likes of Andy Corbett, Aaron Webster, Cleveland Taylor, Adi Yussuf and Billy Kee.
Yussuf scored twice and was joined on the scoresheet by Kee and Academy central defender Liam Slade.
Brewers boss Gary Rowett said: “We had to put a strong side out because the rules are not too dissimilar to those applied to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in terms of first-team squad numbers.
“The good thing is that all the lads who were in need of a game worked really hard, which is sometimes difficult in this type of game.”
However, the appearance of first-team squad players against the Midland Alliance side means they will not be risked in this afternoon’s first reserve team friendly of the season against Gateshead at the Pirelli Stadium, kick-off 2pm.
Rowett said: “We’ve got five players out injured at the moment and others carrying knocks, so I think we have to be cautious.
“Ideally, I would have liked some of the lads to play in the Gateshead game, but I don’t really want them playing twice in three days.
“The important thing is that those who needed a game got it on Monday, so we can now have a look at some of the young lads who are creating a really good impression.
“(Midfielder) Matt Palmer, who did well in pre-season, had a good game at Coleshill and this will be another chance for him to shine.”
Rowett is hopeful striker Calvin Zola will return to Albion’s squad to face Bristol Rovers at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday after missing two games with a hamstring problem.
However, it will be some time before other casualties return to action.
Defender Marcus Holness, who is also sidelined by a hamstring injury, could return to light training in the next 10 days, but club skipper John McGrath and wingers Jimmy Phillips and Chris Palmer are still weeks away from playing.
McGrath has not played since being injured in February and underwent foot surgery in May, Phillips is incapacitated after breaking a metatarsal during pre-season training and Palmer has missed seven games after damaging ankle ligaments at Rochdale.
Rowett said: “Marcus is progressing quite nicely and is probably not too far away from resuming some form of training, while Chris Palmer could be a couple of weeks after him.
“Macca (McGrath) is doing some little bits with the team, but I think it will be another two or three weeks before he’s fully involved in training.
“Jimmy’s situation is still much the same in that we are still waiting for him to be given the all-clear.
“He’s working as hard as he can in the gym, but he is still not able to put any weight on his foot.
“There’s no real timescale as far as his return to training is concerned. It could be two weeks or it could be 10.”